Can technology change the world? YES, was the resounding response from 40 leaders attending Telstra’s Imaginarium for Non Profits in Melbourne recently as Jackie Coates discovered.

The Imaginarium – a six-day long digital bootcamp designed to build-up innovation skills in Australia’s hard-working non profit sector. From Design Thinking to Affinity Mapping, attendees went on an intense digital expedition. Here’s what seven of them thought of the ride.

Jeremy Little, SANE Australia

Where to begin: “Everything starts with your audience. The first thing I learnt at the Imaginarium for Non Profits was probably the most important. Knowing, thoroughly knowing, who your audience is, who you are creating something for, and whether or not it meet their needs, is central for a successful digital project.”

Yasmin McKenzie, Lord Somers Camp and Power House

Together is better:Digital is the enabler for us to do our jobs better. The most important part of this digital journey has been working with other non-profits and looking at how digital capabilities can help us have a greater impact as a sector.”

Carolyn Finis, Summer Foundation

Going for it: “There is a perception that perhaps the innovation space is daunting, expensive and also risky. That hasn’t been our experience at the Summer Foundation and I think we are all seeing from the Imaginarium that you can just get in and give it a go – start small, build from there.”

Damien Matthews, Berry Street

Putting the “co” in collaboration: “The creative, collaborative space at the Telstra Imaginarium for Non Profits and was ideal for discovering concepts such as co-design. Co-design is about bringing all parties into the creation process and drawing a range of ideas into development. I’ve learnt just how much you can create in a short amount of time with open mind and being empathetic.”

Anyaak Abiel, Drummond Street Services

Digital design tools: “There was so many great digital design tools and methods to be learnt. Not just how they can be used for digital projects but in their broader sense. The prototyping process for example is really important when working on any given project that includes design or invention – not just digital.”

Viviana Rosas, Merri Health

How this is different: I love Design Thinking. What’s exciting is that I can see how I can apply it to my organisation. Design Thinking is all about approaching issues in a more creative way and looking at things differently. It’s about not just coming up with a solution for a problem that we think we might have – but rather fully understanding a problem and working backwards to find a solution.”

Melissah Charlton, Anglicare Victoria

Corporate-non profit sharing: “It’s all about sharing expertise. We’ve discovered a new range of tools that we can use in our jobs – and tools that are not necessarily used in the non profit sector at the moment. We came to the Imaginarium for Non Profits so that we can be more dynamic and more creative – and ultimately I think these tools will allow us to do that and provide a more holistic service.”

The Telstra Imaginarium for Non Profits will continue its journey with innovation workshops happening in Brisbane and Sydney in coming months. Driven by the Telstra Foundation, the bootcamps aim to bolster digital skills within non profits who have a thirst to innovate.

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